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Loa loa

by Conner Bush-Wyatt Oberhauser


Loa loa
Eye Worm
By: Conner Bush and Wyatt Oberhauser
The eye worm (Loa loa) is located mainly in West and Central Africa.
It is estimated around fourteen million people in this area have been affected.
The people most at risk for eyeworms are those who live in rainforests or visit them for long periods of time (at least 30 days).
Life cycle of the Loa loa
The intermediate host for eyeworms is flies. Mainly deerflies are the host of these worms. Flies are infected by sucking the blood out of something that is infected.
Humans are the definitive host of eyeworms. After the fly becomes infected it goes and sucks someone else's blood leaving behind the parasite.
The adult worms are found within the hosts eyeball.
Some effects/symptoms from the Loa Loa are angioedema, commonly known as Calabar swelling, typically near the eye. Eye damage from worms migrating across the eye reflects hypersensitivity reactions to allergens released by migrating adult worms.
How to get rid of the parasite:
Although surgical removal of adult worms moving under the skin or across the eye can be done, loiasis is not cured by surgery alone. There are two different treatments of choice. Diethylcarbamazine (DEC), kills the microfilariae and adult worms. The other Albendazole is sometimes used in patients who are not cured with multiple DEC treatments.
Interesting Information
  1. They can live anywhere from 15 to 17 years
  2. You can see them moving across your eye
  3. They move at all times of the day (1 cm per minute) so they can go undetected and not be seen through the skin